Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Christopher Monz


Christopher Monz


Sarah Klain


Kelly Goonan


Shannon Belmont


Increasing visitation in parks and protected areas presents managers with the challenge of providing quality visitor experiences while mitigating ecological impacts from recreation. Successful management strategies often suggest determining desired conditions for visitor experiences and ecological conditions to establish thresholds. These thresholds can then be compared to existing conditions in order to determine if changes in management strategies should be made. By integrating visitor survey results with ecological assessments, this research is a unique coastal Alaskan regional analysis of the three components of a management framework: 1. Establishes visitor determined thresholds of acceptability for crowding and coastal resource conditions in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GLBA); 2. Compares those thresholds to existing conditions, and; 3. Evaluates the monitoring efforts of campsites in Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ) to explore patterns in changing campsite conditions. Crowding thresholds derived from the GLBA survey results suggest that current backcountry group sizes are acceptable to most visitors; however, coastal resource condition results indicate that the number of tent rocks left undispersed on campsites exceed the established threshold. Patterns in changing campsites at KEFJ were detected by park region and several statistical analyses proved improvements could be made to the current monitoring protocol. The results from this research support the need for proactive management strategies and provide suggestions for improved ecological monitoring protocols.